Village History

We have a very active Local History Circle and meet every month in The White Horse (our village pub).  As well as researching local history (the clue is in the name!), we attampt to answer queries received on this site regarding family history.  We have a pretty good access to various documents to help us, together with close contact with the Suffolk Records Office in Ipswich.

We also join with neighbouring village history groups for joint meetings and outings.

If you have any queries regarding your ancestors, or other aspects of Finningham, please give the details on the blog section.  If you have previously posed a question and not received a reply, it is probably because it has been lost on out previous website.  Please resubmit it and we shall do our best to give you an answer.

THE name of our village is said to mean the Hamlet or Encampment (ham) of the people (ing) of Finn (or Finna).  Hence, Finn – ing – ham.  We do not know who Finn or Finna was but the name has a certain Nordic ring to it so, it is likely that it comes from one of the raiders from across the North Sea.  This area was, of course heavily populated by the Angles (East Anglia).

In common with many other villages in this area, Finningham features in The Doomsday Book, where it mentions that the village was under the Patronage of St Edmund (the monastery ruins can still been seen in Bury St Edmunds).  The Church, dedicated to St Bartholomew, is shown and parts of the existing building are said to be Norman.

The roof of the Nave is devoid of any decorative carving on the tips of the Hammer Beams.  It was thought that these were removed by Oliver Cromwell’s “”Commissioner for the destruction of monuments of idolatry and superstition” – William Dowsing.  However, as he kept records of all the work he carried out in the Churches throughout this region, it is interesting to note that these records do not mention the removal of any carvings on the beams in our church.  It is possible that their destruction comes from an earlier period (possibly Henry Vlll).

Finningham’s Sporting History

Sport in Finningham

8 thoughts on “Village History”

  1. Living at both sides of 3church lane in 1955 is still one of my life highlights. Dad was stationed at USAF Shepherd’s Grove. When the church door was occasionally left unlocked my brother and I always climbed to the top of the tower. Great memories.

  2. Do you have any information on the former youth hostel in Finningham as my friend and colleague stayed there as a member of the YHA when he was young?

    1. Mr Read,
      Sorry it has taken so long to respond to your Post. The Youth Hostel you wrote about was formerly farm workers’ cottages which had been knocked into one dwelling situated about half a mile outside the village on the Walsham Road (B1113). It was used as Youth Hostel for many years but is now a private residence.

    2. I stayed there in about 1960 when I went youth hosteling with my dad and my brother when I was about 11. It was extremely basic, and as I remember it, everyone had to carry out a chore when staying there. I drew the short straw and had to empty the chemical toilet!!!
      I seem to remember that it was run by a lady who seemed quite ancient to me, but was probably about 50. I do remember taking up the option of a cooked meal, which I recall was pretty substantial and very welcome after a long day cycling around the wilds of North Essex and beautiful rural Suffolk.
      No real info about the place, but I thought I would mention my memories of a bygone and sadly missed era!

  3. I, like Lindsay Powell, stayed at the Youth Hostel in 1960, while on a cycling holiday with a school friend. My memory of the building, the warden and the substantial evening meal tallies exactly with hers. I don’t remember what our duties were – probably something mundane like sweeping and washing up. That trip, including Norwich , Yarmouth and Cambridge before circling around the north and west of London to our home in Kent, enabled us to enjoy the variety of hostel buildings and settings – urban and rural – of the time. It is also perhaps worthy of note that it was considered safe for two boys in their mid-teens to undertake a ten day trip; we met lots of groups like ourselves.

  4. I remember an early 60s cycling tour of Eastern England (from the West Riding) when we spent 1 night at Finningham YH between overnights at Sheringham and Cambridge before cycling all the way up the A1!!!!! back home via Grantham and Bawtry. Sadly I cannot remember a thing about Finningham except that it was like a little cottage.

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